Should you buy the Prusa i3 MK3 Kit or the Assembled version?
If you’ve stumbled across this post you’re probably considering buying a Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer, but you're not sure whether you should buy the kit version or the assembled version. So to help out, I’m going to share my own experience with the kit version and explain some of the things that you might want to consider. This post is also in video format below.
What's the difference?
The obvious differences are that the assembled version is pretty much ready to print straight out of the box. Whereas the kit version arrives in hundreds of different pieces that you have to put together yourself. There are two main factors to consider here:
The Prusa i3 MK3 Kit version costs £699. Whereas the assembled version costs £899. That's a £200 price difference. That money could easily be saved and spent on other things such as printer upgrades, tools, and extra filaments.
Buying the kit version is much riskier, since you have to build everything yourself. There is certainly a chance you could damage something if you do not follow the instructions carefully. But the worst case scenario is that you just order some replacements. Prusa have a spares shop on their website.
Prusa offer excellent customer support. They also have the best quality control system in the industry. Prusa are known for this, and it's one of the reasons why Prusa's printers are more expensive than their competitors. Every part is checked before being shipped out. This means that if you damage something they can almost be certain that it was your fault, so you may end up having to pay for the replacement parts, which is fair.
Who should buy the kit version?
The kit version is aimed at DIY people with good problem solving skills. The kind of people who are confident building things and not afraid to take a risk. That being said, Prusa make the assembly process very straight forward, I believe anyone could do it. It just requires a little patience.
The instructions are probably some of the best I’ve ever seen. Everything in the box is numbered and labelled perfectly, and of course they give you a pack of Haribo's to help get you through it.
The whole build process took me just under 12 hours, and this was spread out over 2-3 days. I made sure to take my time since I wanted to do everything correctly. It paid off, and I would recommend you do the same.
Who should buy the assembled version?
The assembled version is aimed at people who are maybe not so confident with electronics or mechanical assemblies. Or maybe people who just don’t have the time to build it themselves.
If you are this kind of person, you should still try to learn as much as possible about the printer. The 3D printer will need servicing and maintenance eventually, and this becomes a lot more difficult without that fundamental understanding of how the printer operates.
If you're interested, I have made a dedicated video on how to service the Original Prusa i3 MK3. You can check it out here:
Personally I would advise everyone to buy the kit, simply because you will learn so much in the process. After running into some inevitable 3D printer problems, I am very happy that I went through the process of building it myself. It just made finding and fixing the problems so much easier.
I cannot stress how important it is to know and understand your printer, and the only way you’ll gain that experience is by getting hands on. Worst case scenario, you damage something and need to buy replacement part, but at least you’ll learn something.
Hopefully you know have enough information to decide for yourself. For more 3D printing content, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!
Thanks for reading.
Happy Printing :)
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